Is Your Authorized Period of Admission Expiring?
If you are a nonimmigrant, you must make arrangements to depart the United States before your authorized period of admission expires. However, due to COVID-19, traveling has become problematic. You do have options to extend your stay so that you do not jeopardize your status and accrue unlawful presence. The following tips can help you mitigate your circumstances.
You can apply for an extension by timely filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS). USCIScontinues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of their forms are available for online filing.
When you file in a timely manner, you generally do not accrue unlawful presence while your timely-filed and non-frivolous EOS/COS application is pending. For example, if you file an extension of stay for your employment authorization with the same employer and with the same terms and conditions of your prior approval, your authorization is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration.
USCIS does have flexibility for late applications but you must make sure that your excuse for doing so is based on extraordinary circumstances beyond your control caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS has a Special Situation page if you file an EOS/COS after your authorized period of admission expires. Keep in mind that USCIS will use its discretion to excuse your failure to file on time, so don’t rely on this. You will need to provide credible evidence to support your reason for delay.
If you entered using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you are not eligible to extend your stay or file a change of status. However, if as a result of COVID-19 you are prevented from departing, USCIS, again in its discretion, may grant a period of satisfactory departure for up to 30 days. If you were already granted a 30-day period for departure, USCIS has the authority to temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
For more information, please contact our office for a free telephone consultation (15 minute) at 248-557-3645 or visit coronavirus.gov.
Associate Attorney, Immigration Law Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC
phone: (248) 557-3645 fax: (248) 200-0645
1000 Town Center, Suite 800 Southfield, MI 48075